Tarot Reversals Explained

tarot Jul 19, 2021

(excerpt from Tarot Rapid Read Resource book)

Reading Tarot card reversals (upside down cards) is not necessary, but it can expand the potential for meaningful readings. There are many possible ways to interpret reversed cards, and this is one area in Tarot reading where you do NOT need to be consistent. Check in with how the reversal seems to shift the energy of the card within the reading. 


Reversal Reading: Light & Shadow

Life is both shadow and light, and lots of in-between. Every card has potentially positive/productive AND potentially negative/destructive nuances. Some cards, like Devil and the three of swords use upright imagery that focuses attention on the negative aspects of the archetype or the number/suit intersection. So for cards such as those, the reversed card may be indicating a more positive/productive spin on the card or the promise of resolution. For other cards in the deck like Star or three of cups, the opposite may be true.


Reversal Reading : Altered Energy

A reversed card may represent an inward expression of the card's energy, rather than an outward expression. Or the energy of the card could be blocked, being released, coming to an end, stagnant, weak, delayed, absent or unstable, or may be being actively resisted in some way. A reversal could also be representing an unhealthy excess of that card’s energy. 

If the reading has an abundance of reversals, consider that the energy around the issue is blocked.


Reversal Reading : Altered Imagery

Another way to read reversals is to look at the upside-down imagery. For example, in the Eight of Cups the character in the card is is moving away from the cups and moving upwards to higher, more stable ground. The moon is shining above, lighting the path. When reversed, the cups appear to be pouring down on the person, and instead of going upwards, he's going downwards towards the moon energy. In some cases, reading the card reversal in this way can lead to insightful interpretations.


Reversed cards can be read in any of these ways, and it is important to be open to intuitive insights.

Court Card Reversals

Court cards are the people of the Tarot, and they can represent real people or personality traits or characteristics. Just like real people in real life, court card personalities can range from positive/productive to negative/destructive. For court cards, reversals may indicate the personality skewing towards the negative part of the continuum. 

Reversals of court cards may also represent hidden issues or insecurities, or it could represent a person or a personality trait having a negative influence.  

When it comes to court cards reversed in an advice position, consider it a warning to be cautious about the potential negative/destructive personality traits of that card in the situation at hand. For example, if the Knight of Wands shows up reversed in the position of advice, it may be a warning against tendencies of being unreliable and leaving projects unfinished.




The card is representing the opposite or skewing negative/destructive (rather than positive/productive)



Inward expression of the card’s energy, rather than external expression (internal perspective)



The energy of the card is:

Weak / Blocked / Delayed / Drained / Absent / Unstable / Being Released / Being Resisted / Unhealthy Excess



• Personality/Character traits skewing towards the negative

(see personality range continuum for each court card)

• Hidden issues or insecurities

• Person or a personality trait having a negative influence

As advice: Be cautious about the potential negative/destructive personality traits of that card in the situation at hand


(excerpt from Tarot Rapid Read Resource book)


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